Costa Rica A Peaceful Land of Adventure
Ask Latin Americans where they first learnt about adventure travel and they will tell you that it was in the Central American country of Costa Rica. This is the country that comes out number one in the list of safe travel destinations for the solo traveller and for families. This is a country that does not have any armed forces and ranks as one of the world’s older democracies. It stands out from the rest of South America as a shining example of how human development can progress at higher than average levels but without the huge financial resources of some of the Western democracies. Costa Rica is Spanish for Rich Coast.
In Costa Rica, they use the term “pura vida” (pure life) as a greeting and in many other contexts. The phrase symbolises the Costa Rican philosophy of enjoying life and being happy and content. Visitors to Costa Rica looking for adventure and pure life contentment are going to be very pleasantly surprised. This is a land of adventure – of Pacific beaches with rolling breakers for the surfer or White Water Rivers for the rafter. If exploring a land of volcanoes and geysers or zip wiring through the jungle is more your thing, then Costa Rica will not disappoint. Here we present some ideas for an adventure holiday in Costa Rica
Surfing in Mal Pais
It takes a bit of getting to, but for the dedicated surfer looking to ride some fantastic breakers, Mal Pais on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula is a great destination. Still relatively unspoiled, the communities of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are very small and scattered along the golden beaches with a backdrop of lush green canopy. This makes the area great for surfers looking for some great surfing in a more remote location. In general the surf serves up intermediate level breakers but in some bays where the reef formation gives the right conditions, the pacific swell can provide a challenge for advanced surfers. There is a surf camp at Mal Pais that provides for the daily needs of the surfing community. Getting there involves taking a ferry from Puntarenas, followed by a drive of around 1 hour down to the peninsula. Plan to stay for a few days – it is worth the trip!
Reventazón River Rafting
If you are looking for a rain forest experience combined with some exhilarating white water rafting then this could be the perfect destination for you. With a run-able reach of around 60 miles, this river draws its water volume from some of the wettest parts of the country which means that it is deep enough to float a raft whilst still at a high elevation. The distance between the highest point at which a river is deep enough for a raft and the point at which it has too much speed and volume to be navigable is what gives it the run-able reach. There are many entry points at various stages of the river and conditions can vary between a gentle paddle and some serious white water. The run-able reach means that a day trip with a serious number of white water sections is always possible.
Rincón de la Vieja National Park
For the seeker of exotic adventure, the Rincón de la Vieja National Park is going to get you up close and personal with some amazing volcanic terrain as well pristine rain forest and wildlife . The main attraction is the Rincon de la Vieja volcano, and its dormant neighbour Santa Maria, as well as the dormant Cerro Von Seebach volcano. Bathing in thermal mud pools, swimming in waterfall pools and freshwater lakes feature highly in this terrain. The park has many camping areas and the dry season on the Pacific side of the between February and April is ideal for hikers who want to head up to the higher elevations. Hiking trails head out from the Santa Maria ranger station from where you can head up trails that cover 5000 vertical feet and take you past a sulphuric hot spring about 3km up and a number of bubbling mud and waterfall swimming areas.. The Las Pailas ranger station makes a good destination to take advantage of the nearby camping facilities. For the fit hiker a trip to the peak of the volcano is well worth the vigorous activity involved.
Heading down to the base of the park you will be encountering tropical forest terrain. Mammals that inhabit this area include jaguars, pumas and howler monkeys.
These are just some of the ways that Costa Rica can satisfy the adventure traveller. For a safe, peaceful environment that puts you in close contact with the forces of nature, a visit to Costa Rica should be put straight onto the holiday bucket list.